Neil Hunt, Chief Product Officer at Netflix, posted an update on the Netflix Blog about the streaming problems facing some customers, Netflix Trying for Consistent Excellence in Streaming.
Our engineering team is working to multi-source most content, so that there are many possible alternatives in case of regional congestion (as long as the congestion isn't in the customer's home or last-mile infrastructure, in which case there is little we can do). Our newest Silverlight player (for Mac and PC) incorporates an initial version of multi-sourcing, and as we improve it, we’ll roll it out to everyone including our device partners such as Roku and Xbox. We hope by the end of year to have this problem largely solved.
Hunt also warns that some of the problems may be caused by in-house network usage. If you're planning on settling down for a night of movie streaming, you might want to pause any big downloads or backups.
"There are test configurations in our lab where we are seeing an improvement," said Kevin McEntee, vice president of Web development for Netflix. McEntee told CNET News that the company went out and bought computers such as an Asus that users had said were causing problems. In some cases, the low-end machines weren't able to keep up with the video and were dropping frames, McEntee said.The next version of Silverlight holds promise, McEntee said, by allowing the load to be shared by the graphics and main processors, whereas the current version puts all the strain on the CPU."There was a significant improvement using Silverlight 3," McEntee said. "We think we can run on a wide range of lower-end machines that we don't run (well) on today."
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